In a PC Advisor UK story that also has been published on the InfoWorld website, we learn that Microsoft is preparing to make available free anti-virus software online.
This move has been a long time coming, but it’s still significant. If Microsoft does a good job with the software, code-named Morro, anti-virus software vendors such as Symantec, McAfee, and Trend Micro, among others, could suffer losses in market share and revenue relating to their not-free products and services.
In making the case that it must offer free anti-virus software, Microsoft cites increasing PC adoption in developing markets such as China, India, and Brazil, where fewer PCs are protected by anti-malware software and therefore are more exposed to online security threats.
Incredibly (at least to this observer), Microsoft says that a large percentage of PCs users do not have anti-virus software running on their systems. To wit:
The company said at the time that Morro would help encourage more people to take anti-virus seriously, claiming nearly 50 percent of Windows users don’t have an anti-virus tool installed on their PC.
That’s a shockingly high percentage of unprotected Windows users. I realize AV isn’t the cure to the world’s online ills, but it’s a modest security precaution that all PC users should be willing to make.
I’m all for free anti-virus software. I think Microsoft should have protected its users from abuse right from the outset of the networked-PC era.
As the vendor of a hugely popular operating system, Microsoft has an ethical obligation to protect its customers from abuses that exploit inherent vulnerabilities and weaknesses of its product.